Debut Novelist Jody Hedlund Returns!

Jody Hedlund wears many hats: wife, mother, friend, squirrel rescuer, blogger, writer. Her newest title is debut novelist. Bethany House officially released her first book, The Preacher’s Bride, on October 1, although, much to my delight, I found it on the shelves of my local Christian bookstore on September 10.


My first sighting of Jody's book


Jody lives in Michigan. She married her college sweetheart, and they have five children ranging in ages from 13 to 5, with a set of twin daughters in the mix to make things more lively. When she’s not schooling her children or writing, she likes to indulge in baths of melted chocolate or long naps in fields of flowers.

I was privileged to interview Jody in July 2009 before she sold as well as in October of that year soon after she received her first contract. I’m honored to have her as my critique partner. Meeting her in person for the first time at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Indianapolis last month was a delight.



I’m thrilled to share in Jody’s joy as her novel reaches the hands of her readers.

Join me as we learn more about Jody, her writing, and her debut novel.



Jody’s favorite food is Dark Chocolate Lindor Truffles, so I’m offering this luscious treat as today’s cyber fare. Since you don’t have to worry about calories (and since no one’s looking), take all you’d like, sit back, and enjoy this opportunity to learn more about this amazing woman.


Jody’s Journey to Publication


•You spent many years on your journey to publication. How did you maintain your momentum and motivation?

All of those baths in melted chocolate and naps in fields of flowers gave me the staying power. 🙂 No seriously, the passion for story-telling pulses through my blood. I’ve always dreamed about publication, and to top that off, God’s given me a disciplined, driven, determined personality. Put all those ingredients together and I have no problem maintaining the momentum and motivation!


•What were some of the highest highs you’ve experienced thus far?

Getting “the call” from my agent telling me about my 3 book deal. Having the opportunity to fly to Bethany House earlier in the year and meet the staff there. Seeing the cover of The Preacher’s Bride for the first time. Holding the first copy of the book. Getting the boxes of my author copies in the mail. And most recently, beginning to hear from readers how the book is touching them.


•What aspects of the writing journey have you found most surprising?

The rewrite process has been surprisingly more painful for me than I ever thought it would be. Sure, we’ve all heard that editing can be worse than getting a root canal. And so we brace ourselves for the pain. But at times, my in-house rewrites have felt more like open-heart surgery. Ultimately, I know the process will make my stories stronger and healthier, but that doesn’t make it any easier while the story is under the scalpel.


•How do you deal with the down times when doubt and discouragement rear their ugly heads?

When I face doubt and discouragement, I usually unload on my husband, mom, or writer friends. God has placed some great listeners and strong encouragers in my life. And usually after I’m able to talk through my problems with one of them, I feel more hopeful again.


•Which of your traits do you feel best serve you as a writer?

My organizational skills help me in my ability to manage my large family and find time to write. Having a natural ability to organize also helps me in the writing process itself, in developing my characters and keeping my plot going.

My passion also serves me well. Once I decide to do something, I give it my whole heart, all my energy, and my very best effort


•There are some wonderful people who have supported you for years. Who are they, and how have they upheld you as you traveled the path to publication?

There are SO many. My husband is amazingly supportive of this new adventure into publication. But when I think about the one person who’s influenced me and my writing the most over the course of my life—it has to be my mom. I dedicated my first book to her. She nurtured, watered, and helped my dreams blossom. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I’m at.



Fun Facts About Jody


You do an amazing job blogging about your writing journey. Those of us who are your devoted fans know that you’re uber talented, that you juggle writing with raising and schooling five children, and that you have a passion for telling the stories of strong women of yesteryear. I’d like to give your visitors an opportunity to find out more about the person behind your stories, so here goes . . .

•When you eat out and it’s your turn to pick the restaurant, where do you head?

Olive Garden, Chili’s, Applebees, or Qdoba.


•Of all the places you’ve visited, which was your favorite, and why?

Most recently, I climbed Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes in northern Michigan. Absolutely stunning—especially the Lake Michigan overlook.


•Some people collect stamps, spoons, or stuffed animals. What do you collect?

House plants and handcrafted pottery.


•Clothes, shoes, handbags, or jewelry? Which is most likely to capture your attention when you’re out shopping?

Definitely jewelry! I like finding fun, unique necklaces and earrings.


•What three words do others use to describe you?

Organized. Busy. Slightly insane? 🙂


•What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Diligent. Determined. Driven.


•What books and/or movies never fail to send you scrambling for the tissues? (Yes, you may list your own novels. 🙂)

I cry through just about any chick flick. Yes, I’m a sap. I don’t cry as easily when I’m reading novels. But occasionally, in a little corner of my library, you may catch me sobbing over my keyboard as I work on a moving scene in my story.


•We often force our characters to do something they believe would be impossible so they can grow through the experience. When have you forced yourself to attempt a feat that turned your knees into melted butter, and how did you feel?

Lately with the growth of my writing career, I’ve had to do many new things I’m not comfortable doing! Like being interviewed on the radio, planning a big book party for myself, and being a spotlight in our Sunday paper. It feels uncomfortable and slightly ego-centric to have so much attention. I’d rather hide behind my laptop. But I hope I’m learning to step into the spotlight with grace and humility.



Jody’s Debut Novel


•Please tell us about The Preacher’s Bride.

In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher—whether her assistance is wanted or not.

Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John’s protests of her aid. She’s even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family.

Yet Elizabeth’s new role as housekeeper takes a dangerous turn when John’s boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher’s enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she’s more determined than ever to save the child—and man—she’s come to love.



Reactions and Reviews


•I haven’t sold a book, but I hear the firsts can be amazing experiences. First look. First time to hold your novel in your hands. First time you see it on the shelves. What struck you the most during the months leading up to your release?

There are a LOT of firsts! But the “first” that meant the most to me was when my editor sent me my very first copy of The Preacher’s Bride. It had just been printed, and he made a special point of sending one to me along with an encouraging card. His note along with the thrill of seeing and holding the book brought me to tears.


•You’ve already received a number of glowing reviews, including your 4-and-a-half star review(!) from Romantic Times Book Reviews. Which have meant the most to you, and why?

I cherish each and every review I’ve begun receiving. But it means so much when friends email me with their impressions. I’ve been saving those emails in a special file.



Jody’s Journey Continues


•Your first book is on the shelves, and your second is in your editor’s hands. I understand you have an official title for Book Two. What do you think of it?

The title for my second book is The Doctor’s Lady and it’s scheduled to release in September of 2011.  I’m excited about the final title and think it’s very fitting to the story. I also like that it compliments the title of The Preacher’s Bride


•Since I’ve been privileged to read The Doctor’s Lady in manuscript form, I know your readers are in for another treat. How would you describe this story?

The Doctor’s Lady is another inspired-by novel based on the first white woman to travel overland West to Oregon as a missionary to the natives. It’s a marriage of convenience story, but also the tale of how a young woman overcame the odds, endured a dangerous journey, and found true love along the way. In the process, her strength and courage paved the way for all of the women who came after her.


You will soon begin writing your third book. What are your feelings as you prepare to immerse yourself in the story?

Currently I’m in the brainstorming and researching phase. I’m really looking forward to delving into the writing process again because the actual writing is what I enjoy most.


Questions and Comments for Jody

Jody will stop by to respond to comments from time to time, so feel free to leave one for her.



I’m giving away THREE copies of Jody’s debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride. Tucked inside each one, the winner will find one of Jody’s attractive bookmarks, which she signed for me when we were at the American Christian Writers conference last month. (If your name is chosen and you already have the book, I’ll surprise you with a different gift and select an additional winner.)

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Jody by midnight October 5 (Pacific time) and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process. (You don’t have to leave it in the body of your comment this way.)

On October 6, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address. (I don’t share your information with anyone, other than sending your mailing address to my guest, and I don’t add your name to any mailing lists.)

Congratulations to the winners: Amber, Kerrie Marquart, and Pattie!

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


Learn More About Jody

Visit her blog ~

Visit her website ~

Friend her on Facebook ~ Jody Hedlund

Follow her on Twitter ~ JodyHedlund


About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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24 Responses to Debut Novelist Jody Hedlund Returns!

  1. Lisa Jordan says:

    Bathing in chocolate just doesn’t sound that appealing to me… Napping in a field of flowers would be great as long as there were no snakes. 🙂

    Jody, I love how you incorporate real historical events into your fiction. I’m looking forward to reading this book. 🙂 How long does it take you to research each novel? How do you keep your research organized?


  2. Julie J. says:

    Great interview, Keli and Jody. It was wonderful to meet both of you at conference. Congrats on all your success!

  3. Oooh, chocolate. I needed that 😀

    Jody, it’s always so encouraging to hear about your writing journey and the amazing things that have come from your hard work, determination, and ability to lean on friends, family, and God during the hard times.

    I’ve said it so many times these last several months, but I’m truly happy for you and the growing success of your book. I can’t wait to hear more about your amazing journey in the future.

  4. Sherrinda says:

    It’s always so good to read more about you, Jody. So you are a Triple D, huh? ;)I know that’s a huge part of why you are so successful. It takes discipline and drive to get the writing accomplished amidst the chaos of our lives. Kuddos to you!

    I was wondering how much time you spent on research too, so answer Lisa’s question for me, please!

  5. It’s great to celebrate your release with you, Jody! Your reviews have been stellar, and I am so happy to see the encouragement you’re getting after a long journey and very hard work. I’m looking forward to reading it myself! I keep looking for it on Kindle, but I guess maybe they’ve delayed the Kindle release? Not sure how that works…

  6. Congrats, Jody. Your blurb is very enticing.

  7. Susan Mason says:

    Congratulations on the release of your first book, Jody! It sounds wonderful and I love the cover.

    I love sharing a writer’s journey to publication and your blog has been very enlightening!

    May you continue to receive rave reviews and LOTS of sales!


    P.S. Great interview, Keli! You can always moonlight as a reporter! Or maybe replace Oprah next year. LOL.

  8. I am so excited about the New Book of THE PREACHER’S BRIDE and hope I am one of the lucky winnners!!

  9. Char Chaffin says:

    What a wonderful interview! Jody, congratulations on your first book; I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to hold it in your hands and see for yourself the rewards of your hard work. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for it, and best of luck as your career flourishes!

    Char Chaffin

  10. Pattie says:

    I’ve been following Jody on her Twitter and blog and it’s been a fascinating look into the writing journey. I’d love to be considered to win a copy of her debut! Thanks!

  11. Jody Hedlund says:

    Hey, Everyone!! Thank you ALL for stopping by Keli’s blog today! She does such a fabulous job helping all of us! So, thank you for having me today, Keli! 🙂

    Lisa Jordan and Sherrinda both asked about my research process. And it generally takes me a good 6-8 weeks of intense reading and researching before I feel like I have *enough* to get started with the writing. But it’s merely the foundation. I have to continue researching as I’m writing, as new things come up. And then I also save some things to research for after I’m done with the story–especially hard to find things that might slow down the flow of the story if I were to take the time to stop and research.

    I keep my research in a three ring binder–especially all of the research I print off from internet searching. I also keep a list of books I’ve used in the research process so that I can go back and access/double check information, if needed, during the line editing phase.

  12. Jody Hedlund says:

    Rosslyn, If you want to see the book on Kindle, go to The Preacher’s Bride page on Amazon and click on the Kindle button. The more clicks it gets, I think that the quicker Amazon will get it out into Kindle format.

  13. amber says:

    I’d love to read “The Preacher’s Bride”!!! I’ve heard good things about it and want to see for myself how great it is 🙂

  14. gabi says:

    I too would love to read “The Preacher’s Bride.” I’m a huge fan of Jody’s blog and I can’t wait to read her debut novel!

    Thanks for a great post!

  15. GilliadStern says:

    This book has me interested, plus I’ve been reading Jody’s blog and it helps me immensely. She is a fun person to follow and I wish her the best success with future novels. She is a fun person and a delight to read the updates that she puts on her Twitter page.

  16. The Preacher’s Bride is on my list! Would love to win a copy and I’ll even do an even trade & send you Chasing Superwoman.

    I have learned so much from Jody’s journey. Jody, I just wish I could clone you and hire you to do my promotions! I love how you are a marketing machine, but you do it with such a humble and human touch! God’s best!

  17. So good to hear more from Jody! Thanks for a great interview, ladies!

  18. Gina Chancey says:

    Love the interview! It’s so great to know the background and insight for an author.
    I can’t wait to read the new book!

    I’m a preacher’s wife who loves to read!

  19. Like Gina, I’m another preacher’s wife who loves to read, and I’m anxious to get my hands on TPB, too. It’s been educational and inspiring to follow Jody’s journey to publication. She’s a wonderful example of a dedicated, determined, Christ-centred writer. I first came to her blog via agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog in mid-June 2009. I think my first visit to this RWotJ blog was to leave a comment on your first interview with Jody back in July 2009. Thanks for keeping track of her progress, Keli, and congratulations, Jody, on the release of TPB. I wish you God’s version of success with it!

  20. Jill Kemerer says:

    Keli, you did it again! Another wonderful and entertaining interview!

    Jody, I’m so impressed with your dedication to your family and your writing. With all the “firsts” come tons of extra responsibility, but you continue to meet your deadlines, grow your social networks, and write compelling books. You’re a role model for me, and I’m so happy for you!!

  21. Alison says:

    I LOVE dark chocolate Lindor! – my absolute favourite in the world. Keep them in the fridge – they take longer to me-e-e-lt. Yummy!
    Congratultions on your first book – it sounds a fsacinating read, and I hope I win a copy!

  22. Monica says:

    Jody, When you describe yourself as Diligent, Determined, Driven, I think of my good friend Keli! I’m excited for your new accomplishments with the 3 book contract. Praise God for His gifts.

  23. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by to learn more about Jody and her debut novel.

    I held the drawing, and the three winners of a copy of The Preacher’s Bride are Amber, Kerrie Marquart, and Pattie.

    Congratulations, ladies! I’ll be in touch.

  24. Diane says:

    I already have her book and love it. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! :O) Congrats Jody!!!

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